Original wheel tax resolution uncovered

The Claiborne Progress is in possession of Resolution 2015-088, the document that effectively adopted the $25 Road Department wheel tax.

The controversial tax will be up for debate and possible termination during the Claiborne Commission meeting on Nov. 18. Meanwhile, there seems to be a misconception by the general public that the original resolution adopted in 2015 established the wheel tax solely for the payback of a $5 million loan taken by a previous Road superintendent.

However, there is not one word mentioned in the resolution about the loan payback nor the apparent oral “promise” that the wheel tax will be done away with once the note is paid in full.

Page one of the three-page document states that the county is “without sufficient funds to resurface the county roads and does not anticipate any sufficient increase in funding….”

It goes on to state that the Claiborne Budget Committee voted to recommend to the Claiborne Commission that it create the wheel tax “to fund a solution to the road surface problem.”

“…the need for new revenue is great in Claiborne County, Tennessee and a Wheel Tax would help fund surfacing of the roads….,” the document continues.

On page three of the resolution, under Section 6, it states that “the proceeds generated by the Wheel Tax will be placed in a reserve line item in Fund 176 for the sole purpose of the Claiborne County Highway Department.”

The document states that the funds will be reviewed to insure they are spent according to the following specifications:

A. 60 percent of funds will be used for tar and chip surfacing

B. 40 percent of funds will be used for asphalt surfacing

C. Two Hundred Thousand ($200,000.00) Dollars may be used for Equipment. If not used for Equipment then this amount will be used for tar and chip surfacing of roads.

D. The road superintendent will submit a written report to the County Commission where Wheel Tax funds are spent by District, by road, and by road surface type.

E. There will be an annual review by the Budget Committee and County Commission concerning the expenditures in regard to the guidelines of this Wheel Tax.

“Be it further resolved, that any attempt to use these funds for any other purpose other than the Road Department will Void this Resolution and Wheel Tax will cease immediately,” continues the resolution.

The major rub by the public seems to be the apparent lack of repairing roadways in the more rural areas of the county. Torrential rainfall earlier this year exacerbated problems for residents living in these and other areas.

Road superintendent Ronnie Pittman is following state requirements that the roads that carry heavier traffic be attended to prior to the more rural roadways. Pittman says he is continuing to work from an ‘urgent’ list generated from those who have called in requests for road repairs. These are being seen to as time and funding is available.

The Nov. 18 Claiborne Commission meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. inside the large courtroom of the Claiborne Courthouse, located on Main Street in Tazewell.